May 11, 2014
It was so wonderful to see you all on Skype yesterday. I love you all so much! :)
Skyping with Heidi on Mother's Day
I know I shared a lot of this past weeks experiences already, but I wanted to add a little bit more of what I learn, and write my testimony again here.
The first couple days with TWO companions was a little bit difficult. Having three suddenly got a little bit stressful. I was definitely going into robot mode and not being the most sensitive person. I knew that I was at wrong with my attitude though, and I had to take a step back from the situation and analyze my own behavior. What is the most important thing? Sometimes I think it is so easy to get caught up in the simple, mundane, but also significant responsibilities of life and forget about our relationships with others. Anyway, I just felt like I had been very inpatient with my new situation and I was not being the most loving or sensitive person. Our relationships with others are important. One morning I was praying very fervently that I might feel at peace, that I might have patience with myself and my circumstance, and that I might be filled with love for my companions. I committed myself to action, and because of all of our efforts, our companionship has turned into a great friendship.
I read something in "True to the Faith" this week under peace.
"Many people think of peace as the absence of war. But we can feel peace even in times of war, and we can lack peace even when no war is raging. The mere absence of conflict is not enough to bring peace to our hearts. Peace comes through the gospel—through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the ministration of the Holy Ghost, and our own righteousness, sincere repentance, and diligent service."
My testimony is that peace does come as we commit ourselves to living the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we try to live more like He did, it brings happiness. The gospel blesses individuals and families. Oh, and hey, even companionships!!
One of the common themes we really emphasized this week was on going to the source. God is the source of all truth. Go to the source of all truth. Go to the scriptures. Study the word of God yourself. Pray. Learn to recognize the Holy Ghost and act on the impressions and the light of revelation when it comes.
I always hear about stories about people who listen to the missionary discussions and by the end of the lesson they have an understanding that leads them to want to act. I have thought about that a lot. What do people have to actually feel, think, and understand so that they actually DESIRE to do something.
It was seriously the coolest thing when we met with P*** earlier this week. Even meeting him on the street earlier in the week had been a wake up experience for me. When we had asked him if he had interest to learn more, his face had lit up and he eagerly set up an appointment. When we went there to our appointment he even had questions written down already that he wanted to find out the answers to. We taught him about God's pattern of calling prophets, of revealing his plan to them, and of their special role in teaching and testifying of Jesus Christ. We testified of Jesus Christ as well and of his special mission in coming to the earth to teach doctrine, establish the primitive church, show us THE way, and perform the Atonement. The same pattern was seen that people rejected the teachings just as they had done with earlier prophets. Jesus Christ was killed. The Apostles were killed. Eventually the priesthood authority and power was taken from off the earth. Much truth was lost. A restoration was needed. The Book of Mormon is another testimony of Jesus Christ, and is a powerful testimony of the restoration of the Church. By the end of the lesson P*** was really wanting to know how he could also come to know of the truth. We taught him to go to the source. We invited him to begin reading in the Book of Mormon himself and to ponder the words that he would read. Then to pray and to ask God if it was true. The Holy Ghost can testify of the truth of all things.
Even when we met with Bel*** a little bit later in the day, I saw the same earnest desire to find and know truth. Above all, my testimony of the Book of Mormon was strengthened. He has had no significant contact with Christianity in his life (born and raised muslim in a dominantly muslim country). When he was talking about the Book of Mormon he talked about how he just felt an overwhelming feeling of happiness, peace, and understanding. Things just made sense to him. We helped him understand the role of the Holy Ghost, and helped him recognize that these good feelings are one of God's ways of communicating with us and leading us to truth. Wow. Then that other man from Palestine comes walking out asking if he could join. He had just seen our faces from the end of the hallway and he just felt drawn to us and he didn't really know why. He felt like we had something that he also wanted and needed. Bel*** is seriously a different person since the first time I met him, and I really think it is largely because he is studying the word of God and being literally nourished by it. The Spirit is having a larger part in his life and I think he is acting on that influence. He was not ashamed to be meeting with us, and he actually was proud to introduce to the other man a little bit of our work. So now Mo*** also has a desire to know for himself if God is really there, if Jesus Christ is really his son, and more about his purpose here on life.
Yesterday at the church we met with J*** and the Elders. One of the hardest things I have ever done. I have always prayed for him, but I got the impression a while ago that I shouldn't be teaching him anymore, but that he should be taught by the Elders. I almost started crying. But it's not about me or even that we have a great friendship. It's about what is best for him. Because I do believe that all that I have personally taught him and testified of is indeed truth. I may not be a perfect person or a perfect teacher, but everything I say I say with sincerity. I wouldn't lead anybody astray. And I don't think God would do that either. I just want to see that he can understand and find the truth himself so that he comes to the point where he naturally has the desire to do something about it. We read in Mosiah 18 in the Book of Mormon about these people who had come to this point themselves.
"8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts. . .
30 And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever."
One of my observations is that J*** is really fascinated by the displays of emotion he finds in the church. He has come to find such LOVE, but also witnessed people become completely reduced to tears as they have spoken of their experiences, shared their own beliefs, or even just expressed their own love for others or for God. I am touched by the same. I don't want to say that the Holy Ghost has to be connected to tears or displays of such emotion, but I do associate God with love, and naturally a recognition of that love can bring someone to tears at times. I know that for myself.
11 months ago today I went into the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Oh how the time has gone by. Ha ha honestly, I don't know if I would have actually gotten out of the car and walked through those doors if I knew how hard this was going to be. But I don't know who or where I would be without my mission. I am so grateful that I made that decision and that I went through with it. It is the best decision I ever made in my life yet.
I love you all.
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley
Cutest thing ever! I love the random wall art.
The large stone blocks represent numbers of murdered Jews. We also went to the museum underneath.
My companion taught me how to plank
Adventures at the doctors office. Thank goodness my headaches have gotten better! German medical treatment.... :P
Going to a baptism!! :D
Every old German lady has one of these.:D
I have been blessed in the District leader department. He just finished this last transfer.
It's not every day you see a fox on the roof in downtown Berlin.
Saying goodbye and hello at the transfer.
Goodbye to a great district leader. Hello Sister Cluff and drit power.
Joke of everyone...
"A red head, a blonde, and a brunette all walk into,,,.. "Hey,it's the Sisters!"
Eating appointment with Schwester erdmann ich liebe sie.
Celebrating Sister Bronson's one year mark. I am only a transfer behind! Eeek!
Arabic food. Then we taught the guy there about prophets.
Our little pet caterpillar. We named him Jeffrey and then he escaped.